It can be said Persian spinning and weaving techniques are as old as the recorded history of Persian civilization this

is evidenced by fragments of fabrics discovered in Kurdestan dating as far back as 5000BC, although it is rare to find materials of this age in Iran as the environment is humid and incredibly damaging to fabrics. We can however look at other artwork from the region s history for examples of the importance of this art form. Slide 1 This stone relief from Persepolis showing gifts of spun yarn and textiles being presented to Darius The great dating back to 5th century BC could be argued to show the importance and longevity of textile artwork in Persian culture. Even in The myths of the Achaemenid Empire who held power between 530 to 330 BC knowledge of , these techniques was considered an important personal boon just as ignorance of such techniques was considered a flaw often associated with demons or Divs as they were called showed a lack of refinement and culture. Designs on early tapestries echo the importance of culturally relevant symbolism pertaining to Persian myth. Slide 2 For instance this wool tapestry from Pazyryk in the 5th to 4th century BC shows lions which were an important icon in myth from the achaemenid period. Lions were often depicted alongside cattle as seen here in this 5th century relief from Persepolis Slide 3 The lion attacking the bull is a symbol of Noruz, the Iranian New year. King Jamshid in Persian myth is responsible for bringing fire, smelting, spinning, weaving and sewing techniques to his people which gives a good comparison point for the cultural value placed on these skills. Another example of Persian spinning and weaving being important in the cultures myths and beliefs is Mashyak and Mashyanak the equivalent to Adam and Eve in Persian creation myth are the first humans in legend, created clothing by spinning thread made from their own hair. uses While early Achaemenian Flatweaves were more commonly used as horsecloths their very existence hints that Persians would have used the same techniques to create decorative floor coverings. The nomadic Persians tribes will often use Gelim flatweaves, a more lightweight rug than would be used in say a mosque or other permanent structure as a form of bedroll that doubled as a mattress, and sometimes as we see here; a tent.

The qali which was a pile rug would be used more often as a permanent floor covering. This was most often used as a display of wealth and status within society.

Sufis would use Gelims as clothing, believing that it was a marker of piety and spiritual detatchment from the more base elements of the material world. The name Sufis comes from the Arabic Suf meaning wool.

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